According to a study from the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, oral collagen supplementation is safe and comes with no side effects.
Those who are taking collagen supplements may also see improvements within 8 weeks of using these collagen products.
But, can everyone experience no adverse effects from taking collagen?
In this article, we will discuss collagen peptides, the benefits of taking collagen, collagen powder’s adverse effects, and how to choose the best collagen supplements to avoid possible adverse reactions.
Collagen Peptides: Overview and Uses
Collagen peptides are composed of amino acids, specifically glycine, lysine, and proline.
There are around 28 types of collagen in the body, but collagen type 1 is the most abundant protein in the body. It comprises 90% of the body’s collagen content.
Understand that the collagen naturally produced in the body is called endogenous collagen and the collagen you get from foods and supplements is called exogenous collagen.
Generally, when the natural collagen production depletes, that would be the time for you to introduce exogenous ones.
Moreover, according to a study from the USA, type 1 collagen is found in connective tissue and it is responsible for providing skin structure and strengthening bones.
Other types of collagen are found in other connective tissues in the joints, blood vessels, kidneys, inner ear, and eye lens.
Nowadays, collagen is becoming a trend. It is available in different forms such as powdered collagen and liquid collagen.
Most of these are hydrolyzed collagen supplements so that they can be absorbed easily in the body.
For localized effects, collagen hydrolysate injections are now used.
Usually, these collagen products are used for patients with joint problems.
Compared to oral hydrolyzed collagen supplements, these injections surely come with no adverse effects.
In another report from the USA, it was stated that collagen is very rigid.
It is stretch resistant which is why it is the perfect matrix for skin, tendons, joints, bones, and ligaments.
Health Benefits of Collagen Supplements
According to a study from Brazil, collagen supplements may effectively reduce the aging process.
This means that collagen intake comes with many beneficial effects not just on the skin but on the immune system as well.
1) Improve skin elasticity and overall skin health
Collagen fibers are very important for your skin health. It increases skin hydration and skin elasticity.
According to a study from the USA, aging reduces collagen production.
Eventually, this can lead to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles.
In this study, it was found that taking around 3 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides for about 2 months can already improve skin hydration and skin elasticity.
With just a small dose, the effects of oral collagen peptide supplementation can already be seen.
If you wonder how collagen supplements may offer these effects, they usually increase the production of proteins that help structure your skin.
These proteins are elastin and fibrillin.
Sometimes, collagen products are also used to treat other skin conditions such as acne. However, there are no proven studies about this treatment yet.
2) Enhance joint health
Like hyaluronic acid, one of the beneficial effects of collagen supplements is that it maintains the wholeness of your cartilage.
This cartilage is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.
According to a study from China, as you age, your risk of degenerative joint disorders increases because your other connective tissues become brittle.
Eventually, this can make you experience osteoarthritis and other cartilage-related issues.
Fortunately, collagen peptide supplementation can improve the symptoms of these joint conditions.
In one study from Mexico, 500 people with osteoarthritis who took 10 grams of collagen peptide supplements daily were able to improve their joint stiffness and joint pain within 24 weeks.
This means that collagen peptide supplements may increase your collagen production on your cartilage, thus, stimulating your tissues to promote more collagen as well.
In the end, this can lead to lower inflammation, better joint health support, and reduced joint pain.
Some health enthusiasts say that the dose of collagen should at least be 10 grams per day.
However, you should not simply rely on this as the dose may still depend on your health condition and specific health needs.
3) Prevent bone loss
The components of your bones are mostly made of collagen.
According to a study from France, specific collagen peptides make up the structure of your bone, increase bone markers, and provide strength.
So, as you age, your bone health is also affected.
Eventually, this can cause low bone mineral density and a higher risk of bone fractures. In addition to this, low collagen reduces fracture healing time.
Remember, collagen supplements work by inhibiting bone breakdown.
This means that if you get injured and your bone health is compromised due to low collagen levels, your healing time is slowed.
Sometimes, people consider collagen supplements instead of calcium.
In a placebo-controlled study from Florida, it was reported that collagen supplements are more effective in inhibiting bone breakdown compared to calcium supplements.
In another study from Germany, it was reported that postmenopausal women can truly appreciate oral collagen supplements to support their bone health.
In this study, 66 postmenopausal women were asked to take either a collagen supplement or a placebo.
Those who took collagen supplements for a year were able to increase their mineral bone mineral density by up to 7% compared to those who did not take any dietary supplements that contain collagen.
If you wonder what food you can consider increasing your collagen to prevent bone loss and frequent bone pain, you can consider bone broth. Interestingly, bone broth can also support gut health.
4) Improve body composition
For athletes and bodybuilders, it is interesting to know that those specific collagen peptides can also boost lean mass and prevent muscle wasting.
According to a study from Germany, taking collagen supplements while exercising can increase muscle mass and muscle strength.
This means that collagen supplements may promote muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth.
However, for those who are choosing between whey protein and collagen protein, keep in mind that the latter cannot offer the full health benefits of whey protein when it comes to muscle mass.
Still, you can take your whey protein while taking collagen supplements for better effects.
5) Support heart health
Interestingly, collagen supplements offer health benefits to your heart by reducing your risk of heart disease.
Generally, collagen peptides, specifically collagen tripeptide supplements, improve the structure of your arteries to make them more flexible and elastic.
According to a study from Japan, when your arteries are not flexible, it can lead to atherosclerosis.
Thus, you increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Apart from these, collagen tripeptide supplements also increase your good cholesterol levels.
6) Hair and nail growth
Collagen also works on your hair and nails. Remember, keratin is needed for your hair and nails.
Thus, collagen will increase the production of keratin which can eventually promote better hair and nail growth.
Side Effects of Collagen Powder
Most collagen supplements come with no to a few reported allergic reactions. However, this is not the case for all individuals interested in collagen supplements.
Adverse effects will usually occur when collagen is incorporated into other supplement formulations.
This means that the adverse effects do not come from the collagen peptides. Instead, from the other ingredients in the formulation.
Moreover, these adverse effects might be due to drug interactions and allergens due to other ingredients.
Some marine collagen peptides are made with fish or shellfish which can cause an allergic reaction. Technically, these side effects are not directly related to collagen peptides.
According to a study from the USA, one of the collagen peptide supplement side effects is it can cause heartburn.
However, this side effect may occur only during the first use of collagen supplements.
For this reason, individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease may want to avoid these collagen peptides or consider seeking an appointment with a medical doctor beforehand for safer use.
As your body breaks down the collagen peptides from your collagen peptide supplements, you can experience a little heaviness in your abdomen.
This is the reason why collagen supplements may cause mild bloating.
Do not worry, though, because this is just a part of the digestive process.
Many people who use collagen peptides report fatigue. According to some experts, this fatigue is caused by the glutamic acid content found in collagen peptide supplements.
For this reason, you should always take note of the label of the collagen products you are to buy to avoid these side effects.
It is common to get a lingering aftertaste when you take collagen peptides.
If you are to use the powder form, you can consider collagen peptide supplements that come with flavors.
How to Choose the Best Collagen Supplement
It is crucial to choose your collagen peptide supplements wisely before purchasing them. Some of the tips you can consider before buying one include the following:
- Choose collagen peptide supplements that come with simple formulations. This means that you can consider buying those that only contain bioactive collagen hydrolysates.
- As much as possible, skip the flavored collagen peptides. These products may contain added sugars which can irritate your gastrointestinal tract.
- Choose the collagen peptides that are third-party lab tested. Since collagen peptides are not approved by the FDA, having these certifications can assure you that these products are safe.
Take note that there is also a possible recall when it comes to collagen supplements.
Although these products are not approved by the FDA, if ever there are false claims, the FDA can question the safety and effectiveness of these supplements.
Indeed, the use of collagen proteins not only enhances your dermal collagen network but also promotes other benefits such as increased muscle mass and muscle growth.
Since aging reduces your collagen levels, you can put more collagen in your body by using collagen supplements.
However, keep in mind that there are adverse effects of collagen supplements.
Usually, these are allergic reactions and are very mild.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the symptoms of too much collagen?
Some of the symptoms of having too much collagen in the body include headaches and digestive issues.
Who is contraindicated to collagen?
Patients with calcium oxalate kidney stones and gastroesophageal reflux disease are contraindicated to collagen.
Is it safe to take collagen every day?
Yes, it is generally safe to take collagen per day. However, you should be mindful of the dose to avoid mild adverse reactions.